The paper traces key developments in British empirical research on the quality of work. It begins with an examination of studies of skill and control at work, highlighting the importance of the development of repeated largescale representative studies of skills in the workforce, which revealed the paradoxical pattern of rising skills but declining employee discretion at work. It then discusses research on the changing forms of participation at work, showing the growing substitution of direct participation for traditional indirect forms of representation. It addresses the debate about whether there has been a long-term trend for job insecurity to increase, showing that the evidence indicates stability of pattern rather than major change in the dynamics of the labour market. Finally, it considers the evidence about the severity of the problems of work-life balance, with particular reference to the disadvantages experienced by female part-time workers.
Keywords: Quality of work, quality of working life, skills, participation at work, work-life balance, labour market